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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  May 4, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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of his bode, you will not see them. >> couric: i'm katie couric. also tonight, follow the terror trail, phone numbers seized from bin laden's compound, where will it all lead? one squeak after deadly tornadoeses tore through the south, the search continues forr survivors. captioning sponsored by cbs
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from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. president obama as we just heard has decided not to release photographs of osama bin laden's body taken after he was shot to death by u.s. navy seals. he told steve kroft of "60 minutes" today america doesn't trot out this stuff as trophies. we don't need to spike the football. the president said bin laden deserved the justice he received and to anyone who doubts bin laden was killed, the president said you will not see him walking on this earth again. >> reporter: did you see the pictures? >> yes. >> reporter: what was your reaction when you saw them? >> it was him. >> reporter: why haven't you released them? >> you know, we discussed this internally. keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. heave done d.n.a. sampling and testing, and so there is no
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doubt that we killed osama bin laden. it is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence, as a propaganda tool. you know, that's not who we are. >> couric: you can see more of the president's first interview since the killing of bin laden this sunday on "60 minutes." over to the white house now, and chip reid. chip, that interview and talk of those photos dominated today's briefing. >> reporter: they did, katie, and that's because that interview is the best source we have for understanding exactly why the president refuses to release any photographes of bin laden's body. >> keep in mind, that we are absolute certain that this was him. >> reporter: at the white house today, press secretary jay carney quoted at length from president obama's interview with steve kroft of cbs' "60
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minutes," repeating the president's arguments for not releasing photos of osama bin laden after his death. but what about the 9/11 families, carney was asked? aren't they owed photographic evidence as proof positive that bin laden was killed? >> there is no question at all that osama bin laden is dead. he will not walk this earth again. >> reporter: white house officials concede there was a debate, but secretary of state clinton and secretary of defense gates argued against disclosure, and in the end, the president agreed-- no photos would be released. on capitol hill, some condemned the decision. >> i know he's dead. but i do believe it is in our national security interest to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt. >> reporter: but most seemed to accept the president's rationale. >> i think if someone doubts right now with all of the verification that we have, they're always going to doubt. and i don't think the pictures add anything. >> reporter: the president's decision was firm and categorical, according to advisers who are eager to
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portray him as decisive, that quality, they argue, is largely responsible for the jump in his approval rating to 57% according to a new cbs news/"new york times" poll. just two weeks ago, it was 46%. but the positive feeling does not carry over to the economy where the president's approval rating has plunged to 34%, the lowest rating of his presidency. tomorrow, the president will go to new york city and lay a wreath at ground zero. he'll also meet with some 9/11 family members and some first responders. all of those meetings will be private, in part because the white house wants to avoid any perception that the president is trying to exploit the death of bin laden. katie. >> couric: chip reid at the white house tonight. chip, thank you. the those navy seals did not just take out bin laden. they seized all kind of frefs computers to handwritten notes and more. bob orr is follow that part of story. and, bob, investigators have a lot to sift through. >> reporter: katie, this could be the biggest intelligence
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windfall since 9/11 and some of the most critical evidence was recovered from osama bin laden himself. after navy seals scrambled away with the body of the al qaeda leader, they made a startling discovery-- sewn inside bin laden's clothing was cash, 500 euros, and two phone numbers apparently intended to aid an escape. now intelligence analysts are digging into those numberes, tracing previous calls to and from the phones, mapping out a network of terrorist communications. >> who was talking to bin laden? who was he communicating with and directing? are there other links and phone numbers tied to those phone numbers? >> reporter: the bin laden compound gave up more evidence than u.s. officials had ever expected. at least five computers, a dozen hard drives, and more than 100 computer disks were recovered. the seals also grabbed handwritten notes, weapons and an assortment of personal items that could reveal key clues about other high-ranking al qaeda leaders and potential plots. sources say much of the material
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is encrypted and could take some time to decipher. the terror treasure is being protectively stored at the f.b.i.'s lab in quantico where forensic experts are analyzing finger prints, d.n.a., and trace evidence. meanwhile a task force led by the c.i.a. is digging through copies of the electronic files, looking for names, numbers and she possible locations of terror operatives. >> as we glean information from that material, we will make appropriate decisions with regard who might be added to the terrorist watch list, the no-fly list, all those things. >> reporter: officials hope the intelligence cue pressures al qaeda into make mistakes. if, for example, bin laden's deputy, and apparent successor ayman al-zawahiri decides to run, he could be more vulnerable. there is a growing sense among counter-terrorism officials in washington that core al qaeda is on the ropes and the evidence may help the u.s. deal one more significant blow. >> couric: now to national security correspondent david martin at the pentagon. david, the photos of bin laden's
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bode are not being released but there are other photos from the raid that have been. and new details of how it all went down. >> reporter: that's right, katie. photos of some of the dead, the navy seals left behind at bin laden's compound have surfaced, but be warned-- they are graph graphic. they include the courier, who unwittingly led u.s. intelligence to the hideout and one of bin laden's sonnies. the seals themselves are now back in the u.s. and their command, vice admiral william mcraven, is briefing congressional committees behind closed doors on what sounds like 40 minutes of pure violence. >> the seals clearly were taking fire throughout the course of the billion that they had entered. there were barricades along the way to prevent them from getting to where bin laden was. it's dark. it's confusing. >> reporter: when the seals tried to burst through one door, they found a brick wall behind it and had to blast their way in. on the first floor, they found two couriers and a woman, all of
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whom were killed in a hail of gunfire. there were more obstacles on the stairs going up to where blizzard and his family lived. when the seals found them, children ran out of the room. bin laden's wife rushed at the lead seal hoshot her in the leg. that left the man who once boasted he would never be taken alive standing alone in the middle of the room. the lead seal shot him in the chest and a second seal finished him off with a shot to the head. bin laden was unarmed, but the seals later found a pistol and an a conclude-47 in the room. >> he made no indication that he was going to give up in any way, lots of movement in the room, it's dark, it's confusing, they'd been taken fire and i think it was the prudent and right thing to do by the special forces officer. >> reporter: the second bullet struck bin laden just above his left eye. it blew the eye out of its socket and tore away a piece of his skill, leaving the brain exposed. katie. >> couric: david martin at the
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pentagon, thank you. the pakistan's ambassador to the u.s. said the governor erred by not knowing or allowing bin laden to hide for years in plain sight. >> what i'm told is we just dropped the ball. and there is going to be an inquiry of sorts. there will be a-- we will get to the bottom of it. how did it happen? but the most important concern here right now is to reassure people in the united states that pakistan and pakistanis as a nation did not look upon osama bin laden favorably, and that's very important. >> couric: today, pakistani authorities reportedly hauled in for questioning the contractor who built bin laden's home. outside the compound, the crowds keep coming, not to protest, just to look. elizabeth palmer is there. >> reporter: as hundreds of sightseers dreamed by abbottabad's new infamous tourist attraction, local people shared what they could about their reclusive neighbors, and it wasn't much.
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zain mohammed lives with his extended family. ironically, zain, who has neither tv nor electricity, has never even seen a picture of bin laden. "i wouldn't have recognized him," he said, "even if i had spot him." at the back of the house in dim, private living quarters, i met the women who said they had tried to make contact with the female members of bin laden's household. zero, nothing? >> no, no. >> "and if anyone did come out, it was only in a islamic vehicle." this neighborhood is teeming with children, some of them now combing the fields around looking for what they believe are burned's helicopter parts for souvenirs or to sell. but even before the raid, bin laden's children weren't allowed out to play with the others. and, explains nine-year-old zaid, "when we threw our ball over the compound wall by mistake, they wouldn't let us inside to get it.
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they just gave us money for a new one." this nondescript house was remarkably efficient at keeping secrets. the families who were so elusive when they lived here are just as mysterious now they've gone. tonight, pakistani officials have at least 10 women and children from that compound in custody. katie. >> couric: liz, i know you spoke with senior spells officials in pakistan today. what did they tell you? >> reporter: well, they said when the u.s. navy seals left the compound after the raid, they took not only osama bin laden's body but one other person from the compound with them. they wouldn't say who that was. they also said that osama bin laden's 12-year-old daughter saw her father being killed. she's told them about that and it's the only independent confirmation they have that he's dead. katie. >> couric: liz palmer. liz, thank you. and still ahead here on the cbs evening news, reaction to bin laden's death in the heart of muslim america. but up next, the search for the
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missing continues one week after those deadly tornadoes.
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>> couric: it's been one week since those devastating tornadoes tore across the south. the death toll stands at 327 with the search still going on for victims. 30 twisters cut paths across
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alabama, some with winds close to 200 miles per hour. elaine quijano reports at least 75 people are still missing in tuscaloosa. >> reporter: seven days after the storms, the search for the missing continues. by air and on the ground. >> we didn't see them the night we were pulling people out or anything. >> reporter: this urban search-and-rescue team from mobile was deployed last week marking this house all clear in owner spray paint as they scoured neighborhoods. you expect to find anybody here today? >> you never know. i mean, we have other teams that come in and search and we come in and stemp behind them. we just double check and check and check. >> reporter: survivor elaine davis believes she owes hire life to a cold war-era bomb shelter about 15 feet underground. >> all i can remember saying is oh, god, oh, god. i didn't know what wassing if to happen. >> reporter: she and her husband sought refuge here. >> it probably wasn't more than 20 secondses or so and it was over.
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>> reporter: but that's all the time it took. this is what elaine davis' neighborhood looked like before the storm, and 20 seconds later on april 27, this was what was left. it's a scene repeated over and over in neighborhood after neighborhood, entire blocks shaved to the ground. every day there are now funerals for the neighbors who didn't make i it. faith is how 82-year-old louise snyder and others are coping. just before the tornado hit a neighbor brought her to the safety of a shelter but now the house she loved and lived in for 60 years is gone. still, she's grateful. >> so happy to be alive, so happy. thank god i'm alive, and that's all that really matters. >> reporter: now, luis snyder tells me she has no plans to rebuild and will likely have to go to an assisted living facility now. many others across the region are in desperate need of help, so far, some 30,000 people
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across five states have registered with the federal emergency management agency for assistance. katie. >> couric: elaine quijano. elaine, thank you. and coming up next, muslim by faith, american by birth.
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>> couric: there are more than two million muslims living in this country. to sample their reaction to the death of osama bin laden, national correspondent dean reynolds went to dearborn, michigan, the u.s. city with the
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highest percent annual of muslims. >> i love this. >> reporter: mohsen amen came to dearborn from lebanon 41 years ago, married liula, and worked for three decades building american cars at ford. they raised four children. but for this muslim family, the specter of osama bin laden and 9/11 has shadowed their lives. >> sometimes you feel uncomfortable because people give you a look. for me, it's not as much as it is for my kids. >> reporter: we spoke with a court administrator, bilal, and shadia. >> personally a lot of people didn't know i was arab, so if you see me out and about not too many people do but once they find out their entire demeanor changes. everybody closes up, gives you a different look and it was uncomfortable. >> reporter: a kind of guilt by religion. general sure, right? >> sure, sure. >> reporter: a stain.
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>> it's exactly that. that's the stereotype. >> and that's hard. >> it's been very frustrating to have to deal with. >> reporter: as muslims, they, too, celebrated bin laden's demise. >> we were just as happy. a don't look at him as a muslim. islam does not promote what he did and never has. >> it felt like something being taken off your shoulders. >> reporter: dearborn is a city of 100,000 people and 40% of the population is arab-american, the highest concentration of any american city. some believe with bin laden gone, it's time now to reach outside the safety of their community. >> it's time for to us listen to each other and to get out of t the, you know, behind barricades, you know, and behind defense lines and pointing fingers at each other. >> reporter: the aimen family says the finger pointing should stop for a very good reason. >> at the end of the day, we are americans. we were born and raised in this country. this is our home. yes, we trace our roots back to a different nation, but this is our home. >> reporter: just like other
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americans. dean reynolds, cbs news, dearborn, michigan. >> couric: now to the uprising in syria. with foreign journalists band, amateur video provides our only peek the what's going on there. pictures that surfaced today appeared to show soldiers attacking antigovernment demonstrators near dara'a. at first there's a tense standoff and then the army suddenly opens fire. the shooting lasts more than a minute. there is no word on how many protesters were killed in this attack. and coming up next, remembering the freedom riders 50 years later.
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>> couric: when formir child actor jackie cooper wrote his autobiography, he called it "please don't shoot my dog." the director had threatened to do just that if cooper didn't cry on cue in the movie "skippy." he did cry, and at the age of nine, earned an oscar nomination. >> hey, how did you get in here? >> reporter: cooper also appeared in the our gang
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comedies and as an adult in the sitcom "the people's choice." cooper went to direct tv shows like "mash" and later returned to acting as perry white in "superman." jackie cooper died yesterday in beverly hills. he was 88. and finally tonight, it might be hard for young people to believe, but there was a time not that long ago that blacks in the south were not allowed to sit in the front of a bus. blacks and whites could not sit side by side. russ mitchell reports all that would change with a movement that began 50 years ago today with the first of the freedom rides. >> reporter: 50 years later, their passion still fills a room. they were freedom riders who challenged jim crowe's travel rules-- divided buses, separate waiting depots, and race-based restrooms. >> with me are part of a group calling themselves the freedom riders. >> reporter: it was spring 1961 when the first 13 freedom
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riders planned a two-week trek from washington, d.c. they would take two buses through the deep south. >> 50 years ago. . >> reporter: hank thomas was just 19 when he boarded the bus. >> we had no thought of any kind of violence. >> reporter: but violence would come 10 days later. outside of aniston, alabama, thomas' bus was surrounded by the klan and set on fire. he and five others were almost burned alive. >> i was looking for the easiest way to die. >> reporter: hours later in, birmingham, the second bus carrying sevens ares was met by pipes and bats. james peck lost six teeth and was knocked unconscious. >> we must not surrender to violence. >> reporter: diane nash was a 22-year-old junior at fisk university in nashville. >> it was critical that at that moment we not allow the rides to stop. >> reporter: show recruited 10 new students and a second wave of freedom riders board a bus to
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alabama. more than 400 others across the country would join them, a seven-month campaign... >> the college students came down from nashville. >> reporter: ...that is now a pbs documentary. >> well, it's the start of the civil rights movement. you daniel sieberg it becoming a movement around the freedom rides. >> reporter: the rides pressured the kennedy administration to finally enfort federal laws. now in their 70s, many of the freedom riders recently reunited in chicago to remember those lessons learned. >> non-violent direct action has power. it's hard to argue with success. >> reporter: success of a movement that changed their lives and the nation. russ mitchell, cbs news, birmingham, alabama. >> couric: and that is the cbs evening news for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night.
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captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh this is 9news now. good evening, i'm derek mcginty. tonight, no pictures but still plenty of debate about the death of osama bin laden. president obama said releasing the photos would be a bad idea. >> it is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an an insightment to more violence, a propaganda tool. >> president obama will honor victims


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